- Imperial Tobacco Group plc
- Substantial cost savings
- Reduced administrative effort
- Streamlined internal processes
- More effective management of time and attendance
- Faster retrieval of HR information
- Better management of data protection obligations
Imperial Tobacco Group plc is a leading British tobacco company with extensive international operations. Although its overseas expansion began only six years ago, recent acquisitions have positioned Imperial Tobacco as the world’s fourth largest international tobacco company, with a turnover of £5.9 billion in 2001.
Since the mid 1980s, Imperial Tobacco has rationalised brand portfolios and production facilities in order to become Europe’s most efficient tobacco company. Manufacturing is now based at just three UK centres: Nottingham, Liverpool and Bristol. Within each of these centres, there is a continuing focus on efficiency. The Bristol factory, for example, has been able to streamline its internal processes and cut down on administrative effort through implementing a new payroll, HR, and time and attendance system.
Adding value to the business
"The original impetus for the project was the fact that our existing payroll system was not Year-2000-compliant," explained George Miller, IT team leader.
"However, our brief was not just to find a solution to this problem but also to add value to the business. At the time, administrative staff comprised half our workforce. We decided to broaden the scope of the implementation and use it to achieve a better balance between administration and production."
Before deciding on a new system, Imperial Tobacco underwent a detailed evaluation process. According to Miller, the main criteria for choosing a vendor were stability, a strong track record, and a commitment to future product development. The product itself had to offer all the required functionality whilst being suitable for the relatively small size of the Bristol operation, which employs 250 people and manufactures only cigars.
Imperial Tobacco chose Topaz EMS and implemented an integrated solution based on the product’s Payroll, Personnel Management, and Time and Attendance modules. The software runs on a Dell PowerEdge 6300 server under Windows 2000, with a Microsoft SQL Server 7 database. Topaz itself carried out some of the development work for the implementation, customising the modules in accordance with Imperial Tobacco’s needs. According to Miller, the project went very smoothly and Imperial Tobacco has never looked back.
"When we originally looked at Topaz EMS it seemed too good to be true, but it delivered everything we expected. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were. In terms of functionality, Topaz matched systems that cost ten times as much," said Miller.
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